Republic of The Gambia

Ministry of Health and Social Welfare



September 2011

financial and technical support in collaboration with partners in this endeavor. obesity and other risk factors. My Ministry maintains an open door policy where all the stakeholders are encouraged to seek and offer advice. aimed at providing appropriate assistance to ECOWAS countries. This policy will be implemented in harmony with an action plan. I am pleased to introduce the National Integrated Policy for the Prevention and Control of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in The Gambia. monitoring and evaluation of the National NCD Programme. multidisciplinary and multisectoral policies and strategies for the prevention and management of NCDs. non communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise in The Gambia. This policy is intended to provide strategic direction for the prevention. The policy also recommends that evidence based clinical practice and appropriate use of technologies should be promoted at all levels of health care. surveillance. exercise. As in other countries. I welcome the measures set out in the policy and I would like to thank all those who contributed towards the development of this policy and action plan (2012-2016). The instrument will guide the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. These conditions affect general wellbeing and quality of life as well account for most of the healthcare resources used. from the level of Government to individual choices that are made regarding lifestyle and habits. It is therefore important that all stakeholders are committed to the effective implementation of the policy and action plan. Honorable Fatim Badjie Minister of Health and Social Welfare Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 2 . Furthermore. My Ministry will provide the necessary institutional. The socio-economic factors that drive NCDs and their risk factors are complex and multidimensional in nature and can only be addressed through multisectoral approaches. partners and stakeholders in the planning. this policy examines some of the socio-economic impact and burden of NCDs and discusses various strategies for the prevention and control of such diseases in The Gambia with emphasis on health promotion. management and control of Non-Communicable Diseases in the country. including tertiary services.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 FOREWORD On behalf of the Government of The Gambia. and present a significant economic burden in The Gambia. implementation. The prevention and management of NCDs is everybody’s concern. capacity building and management. Adverse trends in diet. It will also help the health system to address the challenges posed by chronic disease with emphasis on the best approach to reduce the social determinants responsible for unhealthy lifestyle. The vision for A HEALTHY GAMBIA gained momentum since the adoption of the Primary Health care Strategy in 1978 in response to the “Health for All” goal. means that the level of chronic conditions will continue to increase. The development of this policy comes as a joint collaboration between the World Health Organization and the West African Health Organization.

The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 ABBREVIATIONS ADB African Development Bank BCC CBO ERP Behaviour Change Communication Community-Based Organization Economic Recovery Programme ESAP GDP Enhanced Structural Adjustment Programme Gross Domestic Product GAVI HDI HDR HMIS IDB Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative Human Development Index Human Development Report Health Management Information System Islamic Development Bank IOGT MoH&SW MTWG M&E NHMIS NMAC NHIS NGO NCDs PHC PSD WAHO WHO WB International Organization of Good Templers Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Multi-sectoral Technical Working Group Monitoring and Evaluation National Health Management Information System National Multi-sectoral Advisory Committee National Health Insurance Scheme Non.Governmental Organization Non Communicable Diseases Primary Health Care Programme for Sustainable Development West African Health Organization World Health Organization World Bank Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 3 .

...................5 NCD Situation in The Gambia.....11 Guiding Principles……………………………………………………………………11 Policy Development Process………………………………………………………...........13 Priority Areas for Action…………………………………………………………. Vision and Goal……………………………………………………………....................................................................9 Mission.....................13 Implementation Arrangement……………………………………………………….....................11 The Scope of the NCD Policy and Strategy…………………………………………..7 Justification...............................................................................................18 References……………………………………………………………………………19 Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 4 .......................................................................18 Monitoring and Evaluation………………………………………………………...3 Country Profile.......................................................................................10 Policy Objectives……………………………………………………………………............................................................................................2 Abbreviations.............12 Management and Coordination…………………………………………………...........................The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 TABLE OF CONTENT Foreword...............................

The River Gambia divides the country into two halves. Economy The Gambia ranks among the least developed and poorest countries. with an altitude not exceeding 50 meters. The country runs in an East-West direction and lies between latitude 13 and 14 degrees north. Like many developing countries. 2010).904. with groundnuts being the main source of foreign exchange. Human Development Indicators in the Gambia have shown little progress and some have declined. The country varies width from 28 to 50km and is flat. Programme for Sustainable Development (PSD) and the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Programme Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 5 . spanning only 10.680 km2. North and South banks. The Gambia’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture. with rainfall highest in August. The country lies in the sahelian-Sudano Region and it has sahelian climate characterized by two seasons – a four month rainy season (mid June – mid October). The Gambia has undertaken major and comprehensive economic reform such as the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP). the transit and re-export trade continues to be an important contributor to national revenue. Due to The Gambia’s location and favorable tariffs. It is the smallest country on mainland Africa. and her Gross national income per capita is estimated at US$ 2. Since the early 1980s tourism has become a major foreign exchange earner contributing over 125 of GDP. and an eight-month dry season.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 COUNTRY PROFILE Map of The Gambia Geography The Gambia is located on the West Coast of Africa and forms a narrow enclave in the Republic of Senegal except for a short seaboard on the Atlantic Coastline. following the world oil shock. The Gambia’s economic performance deteriorated substantially in the late 1970s and early 1980s. According to the Human Development Index (HDI). the Gambia ranked 151st country out of 169 countries (HDR. Since the mid-eighties.

7%. cancer Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 6 .The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 (ESAP) to re-establish macro-economic equilibrium. According to the last National Household Poverty Survey in 2003. such as malaria. Demography and Health profile in brief The population is estimated at 1. In rural areas 68% of the population is poor. the total population in the Western Coast Region is 55% while 5% live in the Lower River Region. The country is divided into 48 constituencies.9%. In addition the President of the Republic nominates five members to the National Assembly and also appoints ministers in accordance with the constitution. 13% in the North Bank Region. 61% of the population lives below the poverty line. and maintains a parliamentary system of government. the Gambia like many developing countries is also grappling with the burden of non-communicable diseases/conditions (NCDs) such as diabetes. and the economy grew by 6. Political Structure The Gambia attained political independence from Britain in February 1965.8%) were males and 687 781 were Females with an annual growth rate of 3.4 million inhabitants of which 676 726 (49. In rural areas limited access to social service is making poverty worse. The local government system dates back to the 1960s. Communicable diseases. 2003).3%. are still some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in The Gambia. The current rate of illiteracy among adults is 62. The Gambia is one of the most stable and peaceful countries in the region. while the population under the age 15 years comprise of 40. In 2007.4% (GBoS. each represented by an elected member in the National Assembly. although The Gambia has made significant improvements in maternal and child health indicators over the years. Though the country has implemented several programmes aimed at addressing poverty. still poverty reduction continues to be elusive. Presidential and parliamentary elections are held every five years. tuberculosis. poverty and food insecurity. Republican status was attained in April 1970 when the first president of the country became Head of state. However. 14% in the Central River Region and 13% in the Upper River Region. The Area Councils in the provincial regions are headed by Chairpersons. Constituencies are divided into wards that are represented in Area and Municipal Councils by elected Councilors. Poverty is a fundamental cause of household food insecurity and under-nutrition this is evident by findings from the Household Poverty Survey (1998) which shows food poverty in 37% of the population.2%. Urban poverty is also on the rise and effects 40% of the population living in urban areas. There are five provincial regions and two urban municipalities headed by governors and mayors respectively. Over the past 15 years poverty has shown little sign of improvement. The fertility rate is 4. Youth unemployment particularly in the urban areas and low productivity in the agricultural sector combined with inappropriate market and marketing system for the produce becomes contributing factors to income. HIV/AIDS. macro-economic performance was very strong. According to the results of the 2003 census.

The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 chronic respiratory infections and hypertension. the study concluded that 24. impair the economic growth of the country and place a heavy and rising demand on the family and national budgets. NCDs lower the quality of life of people. to name but a few. cancer. By less conservative criteria (a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or above and/or systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or above). Inadequate investment in prevention is also a major contributing factor to the rapid and continuous rise of the NCD burden in The Gambia.87% in male and female respectively. they may not however reflect the true picture of the current situation given the time lapse. 2009) based on the data obtained from public and NGO health facilities have shown that non Communicable Diseases such as hypertension accounts for 35. These conditions have serious implications for both the health service and the population at risk. nutritional and epidemiological transitions further aggravate the NCDs burden. Inadequate investment in prevention is also a major contributing factor to the rapid and continuous rise of the NCDs burden in The Gambia. nutritional and epidemiological transitions further aggravate the NCD burden.6% of the adult urban population and 1. The 2009 Health Management and Information System Report (HMIS. for example. lower the quality of life of people.2% of the adult population was hypertensive with prevalence being similar in major ethnic groups in urban and rural communities. These demographic. The same study revealed that between 10 to 20% of the population was chronically infected with hepatitis B.71% and 22.78% and 1. The changing lifestyles due partly to urbanization and globalisation have resulted in an increased tobacco use. The changing lifestyles due to urbanization and globalisation have resulted in tobacco use.50% of admission due to non communicable diseases was a result of hypertension in male and female respectively. a risk factor for liver cancer. consumption of unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. NCDs.56% and 43. These findings are not at great variance from studies conducted by Van Der Sande et al (1996 & 2001) which showed 9.4% of the rural adult population had diabetes mellitus. 34.89% of admission due to hypertension in male and female died respectively.5% of adults over 15 years were hypertensive according to WHO criteria (a diastolic blood pressure of 95 mmHg or above and/or systolic blood pressure of 160 mmHg or above). These conditions have serious implications both for the health service and the populations at risk. Although findings of the 2001 study do provide useful insights on the prevalence of NCDs in the country. to name but a few. 22. impair the economic growth of the country and place a heavy demand on the family and national budget. A population-based situation analysis by Nyan.64% in male and female respectively compared to Diabetes with 1. (2001) revealed that 8. consumption of unhealthy diets. These demographic. physical inactivity and obesity. NCD Situation in the Gambia The Gambia is grappling with the burden of non-communicable diseases/conditions (NCDs) such as diabetes.69% and 31. chronic respiratory infections and hypertension. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 7 .

Similarly.  Low consumption of fruits and vegetables. These include:  Surveillance to create a data base on NCDs. In the same vein. 41.  About 22% of the adult population (males and females) have a low level of physical activity. were not designed to collect data on or determine the prevalence of risk factors for NCDs in the country. with the average mean number of days for fruits and vegetable consumption among adult males and females estimated at 3. 2001) recommended further research and action in the following areas as a means of addressing NCDs in the Gambia is very critical. whilst nearly 59% of adults do not engage in rigorous physical activity. the study indicated 21. and might therefore not give a representative picture of the entire population.  On average. mainly hospital based. physical inactivity and other aspects of urbanization/westernization.0 respectively. the study did not include the youth outside schools. An isolated study (Maassen. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 8 . on average.4%. Provisional results of the 2010 WHO STEPWISE Survey on NCD risk factors also show a 31.  Effectiveness of current treatment practices. The same survey reveals the prevalence of other NCD risk factors as follows:  About 2% of the adult population. A similar study conducted by WHO and a local Non Governmental Organization (NGO) called the International Organization of Good Templers (IOGT) in 2008 showed a 24.7% of the subjects as being obese. 2000) to establish determinants of cigarette smoking among Gambians (14 – 18 years old) showed a correlation.4% of the adult population have raised blood pressure (25. Sande et al. Overall. among others.4% for women).3 and 5. This was a school based study and was mainly looking at a single risk factor – smoking. aged 25 – 64 years. at 8.3% prevalence rate of smoking among youths aged 25 to 34 years. drink alcohol.4% of adults Gambians never had their blood pressure tested.  About 90. Whilst obesity has been singularly cited as the main risk factor in this study. while the rural prevalence was estimated at 1. Banjul. However. (1996. Gambian adults spend 231 minutes per day on sedentary activities.  Primary prevention by tackling the determinants or risk factors for NCDs. hospital data only provide information on official reports and do not therefore take into account cases that occur in the communities. This study showed a rural urban gradient reflecting differences in obesity. between tobacco companies offering cigarettes and children smoking. it could not establish the prevalence of other risk factors.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 Moreover. 2001) estimated the prevalence rate of diabetes among the adult population (35 years and above) of the capital.1% of men and 89% of women) never had their blood sugar tested.5% for men and 23. The two studies.5% prevalence rate of smoking amongst 13-15 year olds. Another survey conducted by the Medical Research Council (Nyan. Besides. there could be other risk factors in the general population that have not been captured by the study.5% of adults (92.6%. about 24. Given the prevailing circumstances.

An Integrated National NCD Policy and Action Plan as a road map will also provide basis for legislation and regulations in respect to prevention and management.3%) are considered overweight with mean BMI >25kg/m2. globally. prevention and control needs massive sensitization and public education couple with the required policy support at all levels. However. A health policy translates the commitment of a government. The burden of NCDs and their risk factors are on the increase in The Gambia. Therefore. the situation presented below justifies the development of a policy: I. the policy will be in line with WAHO 2010 Resolution on the prevention and management of NCDs (which was adopted by the Assembly of the Health Ministers of ECOWAS and the council of Ministers of ECOWAS) and the WHO Country cooperation strategy (20082013) for the prevention and control of NCDs. NCD prevention and control programmes remain dramatically under-funded at the national and global levels and have been left off the global development agenda. Proven cost-effective strategies exist to prevent and control this growing burden. mainly cardiovascular diseases. III Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 9 . Even though the National Health Policy (2011-2020) emphasizes NCD prevention and control. unhealthy diet. noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). the mortality and disease burden from these health problems will continue to increase. physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol. Despite impacting the poorest people in low-income parts of the world and imposing a heavy burden on socioeconomic development. monitoring and evaluation of a health programme. WHO projects that. There is demonstrable Government commitment to NCD prevention and control evidenced by current efforts to develop a national policy and strategic plan to II. cancers. The greatest increase will be seen in the African region (27%) and the Eastern Mediterranean region (25%) .5% of the adult population (33. NCDs account for a large enough share of the disease burden of the poor to merit a serious policy response. Unless addressed.7% for men and 45.with 80% in lowand middle-income countries.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016  About 39. NCD prevention is currently absent from the Millennium Development Goals.We have the right vision and knowledge to address these problems. These four diseases are the world’s biggest killers. NCD deaths will increase by 17% over the next ten years. mainly tobacco use. However. These diseases are preventable. implementation. and type 2 diabetes and over a third of cancers could be prevented by eliminating shared risk factors. stroke. it provides a broad framework for the planning. Justification Today. The absence of a national integrated and multisectoral NCD Policy and Action Plan has seriously hampered management and coordination of the programme. causing an estimated 35 million deaths each year . It will also be in conformity with other health and social policies and plans including The Gambia National Health Policy and Strategic Plan. high-level commitment and concrete action are often missing at the national level. there is no policy to provide strategic directions. opportunities do exist in tackling NCDs in the country. However.60% of all deaths globally . In addition. Furthermore. chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes represent a leading threat to human health and development. Up to 80% of heart disease.

the main referral hospital in The Gambia. Mission and Goal Vision Attain best possible quality of life longevity by preventing and controlling NCDs in the Gambia. community and policy) on management. The Gambia is not spared from the global life style changing phenomenon characterized by the proliferation of modern supermarkets. strengthening health services and creating conducive socio-economic environment.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 ensure that preventive and curative services are provided in an equitable and cost effective manner. V It is widely recognized that awareness at all levels (individual. The capacity to manage NCDs is limited because the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH). fast food outlets. Mission Promote healthy lifestyles by empowering people. prevention and control of NCDs in The Gambia is still inadequate. there is a tendency for people to slowly but surely abandon their traditional diets and lifestyles and engage in risky lifestyles. Vision. is the only public health facility that has the capacity to manage adverse NCD cases. The high prevalence rate of the risk could be attributed to the low level of public awareness. increase in motor vehicle ownership. Goal Reduce morbidity and mortality related to NCDs. VI VII VIII lack of adequate funds and budget line for the prevention and management of NCDs. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 10 . The major and minor health facilities which receive the bulk of patients in both the urban and rural areas have limited capacity to manage NCDs effectively.

4. alcohol consumption. 2.A joint delegation of WHO and WAHO Officials facilitated a sub-regional meeting in Banjul (in March 2010) to guide the five English Speaking West African countries in NCD Policy development. Using evidence based information for planning. 5.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 POLICY OBJECTIVES 1. Equity and social justice. Reduce the major risk factors (tobacco use. 6. 3. in Ouagadougou in July 2009. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 11 . Strengthen capacity of health personnel. 8. Access to affordable and sustainable NCD prevention and control services. Develop a national surveillance system for NCDs and their risk factors Guiding principles The principles and values that guide the formulation and implementation of the National Integrated NCDs Policy include: 1. Protection of the rights to health. 3. physical inactivity and unhealthy diet) 2. diagnose and manage NCDs through standard guidelines and protocol appropriate to various levels of health care. Secure resources using a budget line to support program implementation Policy development process In response to recommendations from WHO and West African Health Organization (WAHO). 2011. The first draft was completed in June 2010 and reviewed internally by a multi-sectoral group in August. Population-wide health promotion and disease prevention activities. 7. implementation monitoring and evaluation of programmes. 4. institutions and other stakeholders for the identification of the major risk factors and to use comprehensive approach for health promotion and primary prevention. Accountability. Using the policy as the main frame work for the planning and implementation of all NCD intervention programmes. 10. Cultural appropriateness of prevention and control programmes. Community and family empowerment and participation. Enhancing harmonisation of the NCD Policy with other national and sectoral policies 9. 11. Promote partnership for the prevention. A draft policy outline was presented at this meeting and the policy development process was accelerated. the MoH&SW initiated the development of the National NCD policy in 2010. Strengthen capacity of health system to prevent. management and control of NCDs.

physical in-activity. communities and countries. such as malaria. The emergence and prevalence of Diet-related NCDs can be largely attributed to changes in dietary habits and poor physical activity patterns. cancer. for both their high financial and social cost for families. These demographic. are still some of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. termed the ‘nutrition transition’ and the adoption of a more westernised lifestyle due to economic development and market globalisation. asthma. mental ill-health and road traffic injuries. The Gambia is experiencing the double burden of malnutrition where overweight and obesity co-exist with under-nutrition. NCDs are as a consequence of unhealthy diet and lifestyle such as tobacco use. Like many developing countries. The country is also faced with the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 12 . HIV/AIDS. tuberculosis. The NCD Policy and Action Plan will be implemented within a five-year period with emphasis on the following national priority NCDs/conditions:  diabetes.  hypertension.  Cardiovascular diseases  cancers  chronic respiratory diseases  road traffic injuries The national priority risk factors are:    Harmful use of alcohol Smoking. physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol constitute a major public health problem and are known. communicable diseases. consumption of unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. The increase in life expectancy and changes in lifestyles have resulted in increased tobacco use. chronic respiratory infections and hypertension. nutritional and epidemiological transitions further aggravate the NCDs burden.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 The Scope of the NCD Policy and Strategy Even though The Gambia has made significant improvements in maternal and child health indicators over the years.

The Group will be chaired by the MoH&SW. Ministry of Works Construction and Infrastructure and the Private Sector. The task of the Working Group will include the following:        Monitor the implementation of the National Policy and Action Plan. Access and analyze emerging issues related to NCDs. bearing in mind that the social and economic determinants of NCDs lay outside the health sector. through NCD programme. Health Education/Promotion and advocacy alone may not be adequate. Advocate for inclusion of NCD indicators in the National Health Management Information System. PRIORITY AREAS FOR ACTION Legislative and Regulatory measures The promotion of positive behavior and healthy life style through Health Promotion and Education is essential for the prevention and control of NCDs. A Multi-sectoral Technical Working Group comprising representatives from a number of ministries. will coordinate implementation of the policy and act as technical adviser to all implementing partners in conjunction with the WHO Country Office. Medical Research Council. Education. Trade. Support the mobilization of resources for the implementation of NCDs The MoH&SW. the WHO Country Office.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 Management and coordination The National Integrated NCDs Policy will address the above risk factors. Strengthen cooperation among stakeholders. civil society and NGOs involved in health will be set up. The Gambia. It is therefore important that legislative and regulatory mechanisms are put in place to complement health promotion interventions. Agriculture. resource mobilization and programme implementation. Association of Health Journalists. Ministry of Youth and Sports. However. Institutions to be represented in the Working Group are MoHSW. Advocate for the establishment of NCD Unit within the MoHSW for the prevention and management of NCDs. the National Nutrition Agency. The policy will therefore advocate for: a) Full enforcement of the Food and Public Health Acts b) full enforcement of the Prohibition of smoking (public places) Act of 1998 Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 13 . The Gambia Diabetes Association. Local Government. Support the process of establishing NCDs risk factor surveillance system. A National Multi-sectoral Advisory Committee for NCDs prevention and management will be established to promote inter-sectoral collaboration.

NCDs service delivery is inadequate and needs to be improved at all levels of the health care delivery. their prevention and management calls for reorientation of health services and concerted efforts at all levels of health care delivery. management. NCDs should be an integral component of the curricular of all health training institutions. For the retention of skilled staff. civil society organizations including traditional medicines practitioners. the National Multi-sectoral Advisory Committee. The policy recommends that: a) An adequate structure is established for the organization. NCDs prevention and control will be an integral part of primary health care. the conditions of service affecting public sector health workers will be reviewed and emerging issues addressed accordingly. Since NCDs constitute an important public health problem in the country. Since the health sector only sees the outcome of complex interactions among an array of risk factors that lie beyond the purview of the mainstream health. Social networks at the community level will be mobilized Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 14 .The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 c) Developing and supporting mechanisms for controlling unsubstantiated claims in advertisements of un-healthy food stuffs and other products in the local and mass media. treatment. It is important that the capacity gaps are identified and addressed at all levels. Community participation and empowerment are key components in the prevention and control of NCDs as well as strengthening collaboration and partnership between the different stakeholders. This will be achieved through active consultations. b) Capacity is built and the requisite resources made available at all public and private hospitals and health facilities for the diagnosis. Intersectoral collaboration and partnership Intersectoral partnership is essential for the prevention and control of NCDs. The MoH&SW. Organization and Service Delivery At the moment. harmonization of interventions and joint planning among government departments. prevention and control of NCDs. NGOs. c) Strengthen the health system? d) People suffering from NCDs and the communities at large are empowered for the proper management and control of NCDs and develop ownership for programs to be implemented Capacity building The effective prevention and control of NCDs require the availability of a competent work force at all levels of health care delivery and other partner institutions. In this regard. the Multi-sectoral Working Group and other existing structures will be instrumental in fostering partnership at all levels. it will be important to get other sectors fully participate in prevention and control of NCDs. faith based organizations and CBOs. management and coordination of NCD programme implementation. the private sector.

e) Ministry of works. Information data related to NCDs will be integrated in the routine HMIS of the MOH&SW Establishment of an NCD Unit The establishment of an NCD Unit in the MoHSW is critical for the effective coordination and implementation of the NCD policy. As efforts directed at prevention and control of NCDs involves a large number of stake holders and sectors. informed decision making. f) Proactive engagement and support to the frontline communicators. c) The Ministries of Youths and Sports and Land. monitoring and evaluation of health services. cycling and other forms of physical activity on the roads. construction and infrastructure to advocate for ‘active transport’ in the revised transport policy to allow walking. asthma. cancer and cardiac disorders in the national data collection tools and database. access to data on NCDs at both Public and Private Health Facilities is still a problem. It is also important for evidence based planning. The policy will specifically advocate for partnership amongst the following sectors for effective implementation: a) The Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education and Health and Social Welfare to work collaboratively in support of the school health particularly the health-promoting school initiative. Measures will be taken to improve data collection on NCDs from these facilities. d) All government ministries and work places to create supportive environment for staff to engage in some form of physical activities at their work places. and Municipalities to encourage and or support the establishment of recreational centers at strategic locations in support of physical activity. The policy recommends that the NCD Unit be established by 2012. In The Gambia. most of the NCDs risk factors can be addressed. and make them affordable for public consumption. and to make such facilities accessible and affordable to the general public.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 to take an active role in the prevention and control of NCDs in their various social contexts. Through this initiative. there is limited capacity and funding for research Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 15 . the NHMIS indicators include NCDs such as diabetes. b) The Ministry of Agriculture to support initiatives that will enhance the production or cultivation of vegetables and other food stuff. hypertension. National Health Management Information System Health Management Information System (HMIS) is critical for the efficient management of health service delivery. it is important that a structure exist for coordination and management. Research NCD prevention and management interventions will be based on research findings and best practices. Presently. CBOs and other organized community groups for promoting healthy lifestyles and positive health seeking behavior. However.

obesity. Tackling Major NCD Risk Factor In The Gambia. Social Mobilisation. prevention and control of NCDs in the country. The policy will put emphasis on building national capacity and mobilize funds for research on NCDs. the policy lays emphasis on collaboration at national. The policy will emphasise the need for the MoH&SW and its partners in the public.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 on NCDs. sub-regional and international levels to promote and support research on NCDs. Behaviour Change Communication and Community Empowerment Advocacy is about bringing an issue to the attention of those in authority or to mobilize support and get commitment to a course. hypertension and some forms of cancers. Social mobilization encompasses mobilizing all the social actors and allies that have a stake in an issue so that they can take affirmative action with regards to the promotion of healthy lifestyles and positive health care seeking behaviour. as well as inadequate infrastructure would suggest emphasizing more on primary preventive measures through the promotion of healthy lifestyles. private and civil society to undertake aggressive health promotion activities. the scarcity of financial and human resources. increase in motor vehicle ownership. increases risks for overweight. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 16 . Physical activity and personal fitness contribute to the proper maintenance of energy balance. like many West African countries. the proliferation of modern supermarkets. These social actors will play a pivotal role in advocacy and health promotion. The constant availability and easy access to tobacco. and to health and health wellbeing in general. to name but a few. A coalition of social actors will be supported at various levels and settings and mobilised for action. alcohol and diets high in fats and sugars in The Gambia. In The Gambia. high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia. These risk factors were thought to be problems of developed countries but they are now established in developing countries as well. In addition. create a tendency for people to slowly but surely abandon their traditional diets and lifestyles and engage in risky lifestyles. Any national strategy geared towards prevention and control of NCDs must engage key policy and decision-makers in the public and private sector to solicit their commitment and support. Lifestyle programmes offering a combination of exercise and diet would be most appropriate for the primary prevention of nutrition-related conditions such as obesity. and advocacy at all levels. fast food outlets. and nutrition related NCDs such as diabetes. Therefore a coordinated research agenda is an essential element for the promotion. Advocacy.

The MoH&SW will also negotiate for the payment of revenue accruing from taxation on tobacco and alcohol to the programme. Both public and private media houses will be involved in the implementation of the policy.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) is a set of organized communication interventions and processes aimed at promoting healthy behaviour and lifestyle. Even though there is demonstrable Government commitment to NCD prevention and control. Community participation is essential to the successful implementation of NCD programmes and activities. Therefore the policy emphasizes building strong partnership amongst the media. management and control in its negotiation with funding agencies. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 17 . media participation is important in the prevention. This policy places emphasis on the timely production and dissemination of relevant communication support materials to complement participatory methods of communication at community level. The MoH&SW will advocate for the introduction of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) geared towards the management of NCDs. the health sector has benefitted from a lot of international funding mainly from the Global Fund. BCC is therefore key to empowering communities to prevent and manage NCDs. there are serious funding gaps in the national budget that need to be addressed. Henceforth the health sector will mainstream NCD prevention. health sector and other stakeholders such as Ministries of Information Communication and Technology and Basic and Secondary Education for the implementation of the policy. the cost involved in their prevention and management can take a significant share of the national budget of a country. Financing and Resources Mobilization As NCDs are chronic conditions. The mobilization and allocation of financial resources must be ensured in order to promote healthy life styles and manage patients at all levels. Media Participation Taking cognizance of the low level of literacy and health communication needs of communities in the country. The production and use of appropriate communication materials is important in advocacy. This policy recognizes the fact that communities are active participants and have a role in influencing change in social norms and behaviour in the context of NCD prevention and control. social mobilisation and community empowerment. Adequate financing for NCD prevention. The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare will advocate for budgetary allocation to the NCD programme. ADB and WB. IDB. control and management of NCDs. management and control activities will be ensured by rational cost estimation and a specific annual budgetary allocation. Over the years. GAVI. but there has not been any provision for NCD prevention and control.

Monitoring and evaluation guidelines and tools will be developed by the NCD Programme Unit in consultation with partners and stakeholders which will be based on supportive supervision. while the National Multisectoral Advisory Committee (NMAC) will address policy issues and advice the MoH&SW as necessary. Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 18 . A Multi-sectoral Technical Working Group (MTWG) will guide the implementation process. coordinating mechanisms will be put in place to support the efficiency of the interventions. The reports will be presented by the NCD Programme Unit to the Director of Health Promotion and Protection for onward forwarding to the Permanent Secretary. specific time-frames and indicators. The implementation of the policy and action plan of the Policy will be coordinated by the NCD programme unit in collaboration with key partners (public. Monitoring and Evaluation reports will include both the status of implementation of the NCD strategic plan and achievement of expected results. The NCD programme will provide direction and monitor the implementation of the policy and action plan. Evaluation has to do with measuring outcomes and impacts. responsible key partners will be identified and supported to ensure efficient implementation of the action plan.The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 IMPLEMENTATION ARRANGEMENT The plan will be implemented under the leadership of the MOH&SW. The planned activities will have a budget. In addition. civil society). Monitoring & Evaluation Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) constitute a major component of the policy. private. Monitoring and Evaluation will be carried out systematically at all levels in accordance with standard protocols.

The data from the situation analysis in The Gambia including results of surveys. and reports. Situational Analysis Report on NCDs. Non-communicable Diseases: A Strategy for the African Region. The National Nutrition Policy 2000 -2004. WHO Country Cooperation Strategy 2008-2013. Ministry of Health 2001. The Global Strategy on NCDs Prevention and Control and the 2008 – 2013 Action Plan of the Global Strategy for prevention and control of NCDs. The Gambia STEP Wise survey Report. (2010) Working together to reduce the burden of NCDs in The Gambia 19 .The Gambia NCD Policy 2012-2016 References: The following documents were used as reference materials for the development of the policy: The Gambia National Health Policy (2010 -2015) and Strategic Plan (2010 – 2014).